I'm a simple girl with a li'l dream, of seeing her humble works in exquisite print, to share with all who feels for words, written with
an unsupressable urge. So indugle in my fantasies, and plow your way through my memories, greatly appreciated you will be,
if you can leave your comments here for me.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Nirvana Crap

Watched a movie recently - in which the female protagonist said something that left quite an impression on me.

"Whenever I feel happy, I get scared. Because I know, something will make me unhappy again very soon."

So much for optimisim.

I can almost relate to this feeling of "happy despair". Somehow, that's how I feel most of the times. It's as if I'm not supposed to feel too happy for fear that the sadness which follows would engulf my entire being and rob all traces of joy in me.

I guess you can liken it to Pavlov's Classical Conditioning Theory. If every happy event is followed by a miserable one, in time to come, one will be conditioned to believe that there would be a depressing occurrence each time one experiences bliss.

Totally warped isn't it?

There's one other thing about this concept called happiness. In a strategy meeting one day, my boss suddenly made a philosophical statement.

He said, "You cannot pursue or seek happiness. What one usually does is to go after things that will make them happy.

So, what you call happiness is getting what you want, achievement or success, becoming noble, getting anything that you want. As long as you want something and you can get it, you feel perfectly happy; you are not frustrated, but if you cannot get what you want, then unhappiness begins."

His words actually had me pondering for a long time. It sounds really logical. One probably wouldn't feel happy for no reason at all. I must have seen something, experience something or achieved something to be in that state. Sounds like some kind of nirvana crap where if you seek happiness it will evade you, but if you don't actively pursue it, it shall come to you naturally.

I wonder how many times have I deliberately embark on or purse something in order to achieve that lovely, sweet feeling of happiness. Do I feel truly happy after that? Or am I just deceiving myself? How can I define true happiness? Is there a checklist for me to tick off the corresponding responses and reactions?

The whole ideology is so abstract that I start to get a migraine just thinking about it.

If anyone has an answer to the eluding concept of happiness, come share it with me. Is it having loads of money? Everlasting love? Success in business? A high-flying career? Being at peace with oneself?

Sadly, I have no answer yet at this point in my life. But I did experience a small moment of happiness last night when I came across two blogs that speak of Hotel Solace. Jade Falcon was probably one of the first blogger to promote my blog on his, but he has since closed his site.

Check out the latest Hotel Solace "marketing agents":

Dave from Australia

John Huong from Singapore

I am truly touched by your endorsements. Thanks for believing in me and this blog.

"Happiness is like a cloud. If you stare at it long enough, it evaporates."
- Sarah McLachlan


:: Claudia :: said...

the endless pursuit to happiness.. the instantaneous happiness we get when we get wat we want. guess tat's addictive. sometimes i hate myself for going too far jus to get wat i want, end up getting unhappiness instead of the supposed happiness..

these days, happiness has become sipping baileys with comforting sounds in my ears. sometimes companionship's more of a pain than comfort..

i wish u find ur happiness.. ;)

luvphobia said...

I think you and i should see life in Skinner's Instrumental Conditioning Theory-kindda way, now.

Conditioned/moltivated to find our own happiness and meaning?

You taking Psyc too?

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Claudia: Agree with you totally. Nowadays my concept of happiness is blogging whatever that is on my mind. I have too much angst for a gal. Blogging has become a purging ritual for me.

Lubphobia: Yes I know about Skinner's theory too. Use to take Organization Behaviour and Psychology as one of my modules back in Uni. I personally like Psyc topics too. Makes me feel scholarly. haha.

agent 1010 said...

In modern society, several forces and trends are converging in creating a crying need for meaning and spirituality. Prosperity without a purpose leads to disillusion and emptiness. Progress without a spiritual direction results in confusion and uncertainty. A winner-take-all economy contributes to conflict and injustice. Violence, conflict, addiction, depression, and suicide reflect an existential crisis. The paradox of prosperity without happiness reflects an unfulfilled spiritual hunger. The intense competition of the new economy results in an increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots. [Viktor Frankl]

agent 1010 said...

Found these in a site - different but related interpretations of the problem of meaning in life:

For Erich Fromm, man makes his life meaningful by living productively, and by using his powers of love and reason to their fullest capacity.

For Abraham Maslow, meaning is experienced by the self-actualized, growth-motivated person who delights in using his creative powers for their own sake, and who can affirm himself and simultaneously transcend himself through peak experiences.

For Rollo May, meaning is experienced by a person centered in himself, who is able to live by his highest values, who knows his own intentionality, feels the power of his will to choose, and is able to love.

For Krishnamurti, the world is experienced as most meaningful when through the knowledge of self gained through self-observation, man frees himself of the self and attains the state of passive awareness and self-forgetfulness which is love.

For Viktor Frankl, meaning is experiencing by responding to the demands of the situation at hand, discovering and committing oneself to one's own unique task in life, and by allowing oneself to experience or trust in an ultimate meaning - which one may or may not call God.

For Paul Tillich, man can choose to make his life meaningful by surrendering in faith and love to Jesus. By opening to Jesus and experiencing His acceptance and forgiveness, one experiences the joy and freeeom of "new being" and the courage to be oneself.

Finally, for Abraham Heschel, man experiences his life as a meaningful when he lives in God's presence - not simpy by encountering God in the world, but primarily by serving God in everyday life, infusing every moment with the spirit of God, and by dedicating himself to ends outside himself.

ethan said...

I am happy when a lost friend called me up and to say hi. I am happy when I am forgiven for something i did wrong.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself getting that new toy does not really bring me happiness. It only fulfill a want I have at that point of time.

J said...

You ask - If anyone has an answer to the eluding concept of happiness, come share it with me

I think - happiness should be an natural, internal state of mind that does not depend on any external condition, for, otherwise if the external condition no longer exists, one ceases to be happy. Eg. if my happiness depends on someone praising me (an external condition), then when I am no longer praised (but is instead being blamed), I no longer feel happy. Same if my happiness depends on someone always keeping me company, on getting a promotion etc.

Happiness should be something like this: I am naturally happy right now, and nothing in the world is going to change my state of happiness. You can blame me, praise me, love me, hate me, come to me, leave me, give me something, deprive me of something, whatever, I will still be cool and calm and remain happy, as I have always been.

The difficult task then is: "how does one gets one's mind to bcome so 'firm' that it is unaffected by changing external conditions"? The answer I think depends on the religion or philosophy of life that one believes in. If one believes in God, for example, probably praying (to Christianity's God or Islam's Allah, for eg) for strength in the face of adversity is the answer. If one believes there is no God, then self-help in the form of training the mind to reach a state of equanimity (using the techniques taught by Buddhism, Taoism or Hinduism, for eg) is probably the way.

:: Claudia :: said...

yes yes yes!!! i haf like 2-3 posts a day. jus rant whenever i like and say watever i like in a space i call my own. tat's pure comfort.. ! :D

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Agent 1010: Love your quotes. Super meaningful.... (pun not intended). Will take some time to go through each one again. Food for thought really...

Ethan: You are darn right. That's why happiness is such an elusive concept. Probably you can read Agent 1010's take on a meaningful life....

J: I agree that we should not base one's happiness on externalities. It's short-lived and probably not as true.

Happiness usually comes from within, and the knowledge of something. For Christians, probably it is the knowledge that salvation is at hand with the blood of Jesus. I think that itself is a great thing for rejoicing.

Runaway said...

Haven't really read through everything in here, only a gist. But I will be leaving more comments. BTW interesting poems you have have penned there .. keep it up!

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Runaway: Thanks for visiting. Please do read through some of my earlier entries - they are quite some good reads there too.

If you like my poems, do click on the link "My Secret Sanctuary" at the side bar. Will link you to my poem website. :)

John said...

Elvina, thank you for kindly mentioning about my website :).
Oh since we are on the subject of poems... I would like to just share this URL http://mannafromheaven.blogs.friendster.com/mana_from_heaven/

Richard said...

Elvina wrote(quoting her boss): "You cannot pursue or seek happiness. What one usually does is to go after things that will make them happy."

Actually, I must take the contrarian view (as if I ever take any other). My pursuits are for the abstracts: happiness, truth, justice.

I do recognize that most people pursue objects and goals in the hopes that it will allow them to achieve happiness (or whatever abstract state they want). Attaining the goal only rewards them with an ephemeral satisfaction, before they need to find somthing new to pursue.

I agree with what J wrote, "... happiness should be an natural, internal state of mind that does not depend on any external condition ..." because for most of my life that has been my state of mind. Pursuing external gratification was not necessary for me or for my validation.

However, a dark period entered into my life about 3 years ago, lasting for a little more than 2 years. I seem to have recovered, but, still, a shadow hangs over me as I wonder if my current state is an illusion waiting to be dissolved and revealing a naked despondency.

I think you should pursue happiness. You seem to have gathered a rather large group of followers who seem willing to support and encourage you.

Take care.

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Richard: I have read about your dark period. Sometimes, the past does loom over us like a heavy curtain - and threatens to overwhelm us from time to time.

If nothing helps, I will always allow myself to sink right to the bottom instead of fighting it, because after that, the only other way for me is UP. We will feel vulnerable at some point, but we can always choose to be stronger, in heart and spirit.

I am indeed blessed with many supporters. You included. And yes, just as much as I should pursue happiness, so should you. Don't let the past take it away from you.

Fireborn aka the lonely saleman said...

I don’t have a straight answer to achieve happiness .if I could or I know. I would make it to a pill. (This one sure a cash cow).But I do know what make me happy.

1) Support from family and friends,
2) Don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses (judge ourselves by our own yardsticks).
4) Forgive easily,
5) Don’t take things for granted.
6) To engaged in activities that cause me to forget, lose track of time and stop worrying, (for writer maybe it’s doing her blog ...for me it’s doing my job well)
7)beer ( just kidding)

John said...

I didn't have time to look through the exact wordings by your boss..
Actually what he said can easily be summed into the answers for ... 'Who are you?' and 'What do you want?'.
Deja Vu.. didn't I said something like this for your previous post? ;)
Personally I believe it may not be that easy to find the answers to those questions; I myself took a while (plus tonnes of frustration) for me to get anywhere near to answering those questions..

suspiciousbastard said...

Happiness? Will come when I get rich. Maybe not, but I'll be rich then.

Tan Kok Seng said...

Actually I think I am happy most days. It starts with the morning drive into work. Each day, I put in a different CD. Sometimes, I just repeat the same song for most of the journey. Today it was Don't Stop The Dance by Bryan Ferry. Sounds silly, but a good start to the day is way important for me.


rainbow7j said...

once upon a time, someone told me her hapiness is the "minced meat noodle" I cooked for her, after 3 months of bread and jam in Germany.

Hapiness can happen anytime, anywhere.....

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Fireborn: Great list. Seems like you are a happy man since you've got it all worked out!

John: I guess it's the same for everyone. Happiness is forever elusive.

Suspiciousbastard: I like being rich too. If you know how, share with me pls.

Kok Seng: You are really an easy guy to please. :)

Rainbow: Wah minced meat noodle... sounds yummy. must try it one day. My birthday is round the corner....

Beach-yi said...

Irrevelant comment here:

You remind me of the main female protagonist in the Manga/Anime, Love Hina. Love the specs. Hehe.

rainbow7j said...

Naru chan?


hmm she does looks like her minus the antenna, Love Hina is one of my fav show haha....

don't know if she punch as well as "her" though

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Beach-yi/Rainbow: What talking you????

Beach-yi said...

Oh dear..erm..try this link (sigh, makes me sound so much like an otaku):


Richard said...

Elvina commented: "If nothing helps, I will always allow myself to sink right to the bottom instead of fighting it, because after that, the only other way for me is UP."

My principal problem is that I have little experience with feeling down. I can only recollect 3 instances. A half day in 1987 (or 1988) - which I actually enjoyed because it was the first time I could say, "Wow, so this is what it feels like to be depressed.".

The second time was for 2 weeks in 1995. And the last time was for 2+ years from 2003-2005.

Consequently, my mechanisms for dealing with it are quite under developed.

rainbow7j said...

sorry hmm that I am talking about the anime Love Hina....

hmm it is not really popular here I guess but it was quite popular in Japan and in Internet as it was spread mainly by the boys and girls from the Silicon Valley in the States...

the Naru character we are talking about is a dangerous female character who would punch the male lead up into the space when she is angry or when her mood is bad haha


*hint* *hint*

*cough* *cough*

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Richard: It's good that you don't have much experience feeling down. You probably know it's an awful feeling, and can be emotionally taxing. I am still trying to seek happiness, or things that make me happy, so that I can overcome depressing thoughts.

Rainbow: That sounds pretty much like me. I always wish I can punch someone so hard they will fly and touch the moon.

rainbow7j said...


I sincerely hope I am not one of them